Friday, July 22, 2011

A little TLC in the garden has paid off

It’s been a good few months in the garden.  Despite this massive heat wave (a.k.a. heat dome), everything is growing nicely.  Even my last three problems seem to be going away.

The new cucumber I planted last week is catching up to the rest of its neighbors.  Since it’s the end of the season, finding a new seedling was not easy.  But my persistence paid off and now I have 4 new cucumber plants to experiment with.

The roma tomatoes are turning red with no signs of blossom end rot.  I have been watering the plant more regularly, feeding it eggshells and tums for calcium, and moved it under the shade during the heat wave.  Now the only thing that can harm it is the warm nights.  But there is only so much I can do.  Now it’s up to the plant to show its resilience.

The thing I am most thrilled about is the red bell pepper plant.  It FINALLY gave fruit! It’s only a tiny green pepper right now, but it’s the most it’s had all season. After months of watching it simply drop its blossoms, I went online and did some research.  I did exactly what others suggested.  I reduced the amount of fertilizer, I trimmed excess leaves, and moved the pot to reduce the amount of hours spent in direct sunlight. In just two weeks my efforts paid off.  I feel I have earned my green thumb with this plant.

Anyway, as you can see from the pictures, it’s been a good season so far.  The squash plants are producing about 1 large fruit every 2 weeks; the other tomato plants have plenty of greens; the chard, kale, and lettuce are resisting the summer heat and not bolting; and the hot peppers are turning red.  It’s been a good harvest and learning experience.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The diseased, the good, and the infertile

I took a photo inventory of the garden this weekend.  So far, everything is growing as it should.  Well, everything except for 3 things. 
Every day I find one (just ONE) roma tomato with Blossom End Rot.  At first I didn’t think much of it since roma’s are prone to this disease.  But now, I am beginning  so suspect that the plant likes to torture me by not killing all the tomatoes at once.  It likes to give me hope for the rest of the tomatoes, and then it kills one every morning.
The second thing is that I killed my cucumber plant.  It was growing so nicely and fertile until I decided to transplant it.  Despite all the literature telling me that cukes are very prone to root shock, I still went ahead and repotted the little vine.  Every day since, one leaf after another died.  I even bought a trellis for it, but neither my gifts nor sweet-talking worked.  Rest in peace little cuke!

The third troublesome spot in the garden is my RED bell pepper plant.  It’s large, green and luscious . . .  but it won’t bear any fruit.  My GREEN bell pepper plant is doing fine though.  In fact, I’ve already harvested a large pepper from it.  Both the red and green have been housed in the same area, received the same amount of water, and suffered the same heat waves.  Every blog I have read states that it’s very likely the hot nights that is keeping it from fruiting.  So I am going to bring it indoors every night for a week and see what happens.        

Friday, July 8, 2011

Random thoughts about dog food

My dog has been refusing her food lately.  I’m not sure if it makes her sick or if she’s simply sick of it.  But this daily discussion of dog food with my fiancée stirred up the memory of when I ate dog food as a child. I was about 12 and my grandmother, who had a knack for starving us, handed me a can of cheap dog food and told me to go feed Piraña (a named I picked out myself).    I clearly remember being so hungry that I didn’t even bother fighting the urge to eat what was in the can.  I remember exactly what it tasted like too, beans and potted meat.  I only ate 2 spoonfuls though, just enough to kill the hunger.  I knew that if I ate the entire can, my dog would then go hungry.  
Now, 2 decades later, the sight of a can of dog food reminds me of my grandmother and my dog not eating a meal makes me worry that she’s going hungry.